This week the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) released a meta-analysis on the socio-economic impacts of REACH authorisation. According to ECHA, the way the authorisation process has been handled has led to increased control of use of the most problematic chemicals as well as reduced exposure of these chemicals to workers and the European population at large.
ChemSec agrees that the authorisation process holds many positives, but it is also important to remember that even more can be done.
“We are glad about the benefits presented by ECHA in this report. But we are also frustrated that the authorisation process is not used to its full potential. The risks can be better controlled, more cancer deaths can be prevented and the substitution of toxic chemicals could occur more frequently if the process would be tougher. In fact, this would not harm, but rather benefit EU industry”, says ChemSec Policy Advisor Frida Hök.
ChemSec also regretfully notes that the discussion of societal benefits of using, or not using, hazardous chemicals to produce an aesthetically pleasing product have been completely omitted in the report.
“Is it worth risking workers lives just to be able to manufacture something that simply looks good but doesn’t hold any additional value, like shiny, chromated lipstick caps or door handles? The discussion around societal benefits seems to only be centered around the companies that want to continue use hazardous chemicals in its production”, Frida Hök says.